Moves to Make Now To Age in Place

If you are a longtime homeowner and thinking ahead to your next stage of life, you're probably familiar with the idea of aging in place. You might already be considering renovation projects, such as installing grab bars in your bathroom or widening your doorways, to help you stay put. You're not alone in your pursuit: About 76% of Americans age 50 and older say they want to stay in their homes, and 77% hope to remain in their neighborhoods as long as possible, recent AARP research shows.

But renovations are just a part of what you need to make aging in place work for you. While it's typically less expensive to remain in your home than to pay for assisted living, that doesn't mean it's a slam dunk to stay put. You'll still have a long to-do list. Just one example: You need to plan ahead for how you will manage maintenance and care--for your home, and for yourself, as you age and face health challenges.

And be aware that strengthening your social fabric now might be just as important as shoring up your finances and installing a curbless shower. Building a network of support among friends and neighbors, and establishing strong ties in your community, from volunteering to just enjoying casual conversations at the local coffee shop, play important roles in keeping older adults healthy and functioning, experts say. You won't age in place well if you're isolated and alone, a reality you don't want to overlook as you consider your housing and financial options.

"The social connections you have and the access to services in your community are often more important than anything else," says Jessica Finlay, a University of Michigan researcher who studies older adults and their neighborhoods (learn more about her research at "You need a reason to get out of bed in the morning and to get out the front door."

Aging in place also can be more challenging than you might expect. While most seniors say they want to age in place, a much smaller percentage of them actually manage to accomplish it, studies show. Transportation is often a problem; when you can no longer drive, you can't get to medical appointments or to other outings. Long-term-care costs, even when you stay at home, outpace savings. Older homes can be costly to maintain and downsizing to a

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4 Ways Claiming Social Security Benefits Early Could Work for You

When financial professionals talk about "maximizing" your Social Security income, generally what they're really advising is that you wait as long as possible before claiming your benefits.

Often, that makes perfect sense. After all, if you start your retirement benefits at age 62 (the earliest you can file), your monthly amount will be up to 30% less than it would be if you waited until your full retirement age. And that reduction is permanent. On the flip side, for every year you wait to file after your full retirement age -- until you reach age 70 -- you'll get an extra 8% in delayed retirement credits.

Waiting can make a substantial difference in the check you receive every month. But that doesn't make it the best strategy for everyone. For many retirees, there are good reasons to claim those benefits as early as possible.

Here are a few examples of when claiming earlier rather than later can be the right choice for you:

Written by Jason Lambert, president, CEO and portfolio manager of Vancouver, Wash.-based Northwest Financial & Tax Solutions ( He co-hosts "The Retirement Trailhead" radio show, and he hosts the "Peaks and Valleys" podcast. He holds a degree in finance from Auburn University.

SEE ALSO: Time Claims to Maximize Social Security Benefits

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4 Ways Women Can Win with the SECURE Act

While women have historically done better than men in the stock market by about 0.4% per year, they are undeniably in a worse position when it comes to retirement security. This disadvantage stems from fewer years spent in the workforce, longer life expectancy, the wage gap and less access to workplace retirement plans.

The SECURE Act, which became law just before Christmas, was designed to help Americans save for retirement and includes provisions that address some of these issues. Needless to say, it does not tackle the wage gap, which, according to the World Economic Forum, at the current rate, will be closed in a mere 257 years.

I teach about 20 women's financial planning workshops per year. I hope this is a class that will phase out over time as we close the wage gap and provide women more access to retirement plans. In the meantime, here's what I will be talking about to women in 2020 regarding the SECURE Act:

Written by Evan Beach, a Certified Financial Planner™ professional and an Accredited Wealth Management Adviser. His knowledge is concentrated on the issues that arise in retirement and how to plan for them. Beach teaches retirement planning courses at several local universities and continuing education courses to CPAs. He has been quoted in and published by Yahoo Finance, CNBC,, Fox Business, Bloomberg, and U.S. News and World Report, among others.

SEE ALSO: 10 Ways the SECURE Act Will Impact Your Retirement Savings

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8 Stock Picks Getting Hit by Coronavirus Fears

A new coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, is starting to make its way across the world. The outbreak began at the end of 2019 in Wuhan, China; it has killed several dozen people, infected thousands more and spread to several countries, including the U.S., since then. Memories of the 2002-03 SARS and 2015 MERS outbreaks are popping back up - including on Wall Street, where several highly touted stock picks have been derailed by the health scare.

It's no small worry. The SARS outbreak not only tallied 774 deaths across more than 8,000 cases over a six-month period, but helped knock China's GDP down from 11.1% in the first quarter of 2003 to 9.1% in the second quarter. Depending on the estimate, it removed between $40 billion to $100 billion from the world's economy.

Like SARS, today's coronavirus outbreak also is happening at a troublesome time: the Chinese Lunar New Year. The heavy travel period is what helped spread SARS throughout Asia, and what could contribute to a faster spread of the coronavirus.

This health issue is weighing on America's broader stock markets, but it's particularly cutting into a few specific industries where the financial strain is already being felt. If there's any silver lining, it's that, like with SARS, this could end up being an opportunity to buy otherwise high-quality stocks at a discount for a potential snap-back.

Here, we look at eight stock picks that are being hampered by the coronavirus outbreak, but may eventually be attractive buy-the-dip prospects.

SEE ALSO: The 20 Best Stocks to Buy for 2020

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How 10 Types of Retirement Income Get Taxed

When you're planning for retirement, it's fun to contemplate all the cruises, rounds of golf and restaurant meals you have ahead of you. You've earned it! However, many retirees don't take into consideration the cumulative impact of federal and state income taxes on withdrawals from their nest eggs.

"Finding tax-efficient investments is the key to successfully saving for retirement," says financial planner Carlos Dias Jr., of Dias Wealth LLC. Unfortunately, most forms of retirement income -- including Social Security benefits, as well as withdrawals from your 401(k)s and traditional IRAs -- are taxed by Uncle Sam. And unless you live in one of nine states without a traditional income tax, you can expect your home state to ding you in retirement as well. (Taxes on retirees vary from state to state, so make sure you check our retiree tax map for each state's overall tax impact on your retirement income.) So, do yourself a favor before you retire and take a look at the federal income taxes you're likely to face on 10 common sources of retirement income.

SEE ALSO: Taxes in Retirement: How All 50 States Tax Retirees

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